Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon Members of Parliament, stakeholders of the Department of Tourism, ladies and gentlemen, and all protocol observed, these are exciting moments in this country; indeed, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tourism is finally receiving the attention it longed for for years. As one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, tourism promises more for the people of this country.
Domestic travellers accounted for more than 70% of South Africa's tourism volume. They have injected R20 billion into the economy of this country, which in turn resulted in jobs being created, and going a long way in cushioning the country in times of global economic downturns. This is why it is important that we strengthen domestic tourism.
In line with this vision, the department developed a domestic tourism strategy that will work not alone but with the national tourism sector strategy and will leverage even more from the domestic market. Trends in the sector reveal that there is more to be leveraged out of a business traveller as compared to a leisure traveller; this is what the National Convention Bureau and the department intend to focus on. It will forge ahead and try to achieve the set target of increasing the number of domestic business and leisure travellers to 18 million by 2020. This means that we are more aggressive in stressing the need to grow domestic tourism and, in addition, attracting more visitors from other countries.
The development of domestic tourism in the country, with an emphasis on rural development, will go a long way in reviving some infrastructural investments that have not been successful. Reinvestments into resorts such as Zithabiseni have proven successful as demand grows.
These initiatives cannot happen overnight. They require extensive research in order to develop and update provincial and regional tourism profiles. And these profiles will provide insight on products, travellers and packaging.
South Africa is home to a vast range of tourist attractions that draw millions of people to the country every year. However, there are still many areas that remain undiscovered by tourists, from the cultural villages in deep rural areas to the heritage places that define the new democracy and the wilderness that is the heart of Africa's attractions. It is important to note that South Africa is home to eight World Heritage Sites, and one recently named as one of the seven wonders in the world. All these places are of outstanding value to humanity.
It would be an unfortunate occasion when we, as Members of Parliament, do not give credit where it's due. We have on many occasions expressed our discontent with the work done to improve domestic tourism numbers in the country and the department has indeed heeded our call. The department, with the entity, has taken stock of the challenges, analysed them and subsequently came up with solutions. I will give an example of this.
In years past, a campaign called Sho't Left was launched. However, it didn't do that well because it was not inclusive of all South African travellers - mostly the young South African. In realising this, a new route was taken and a new initiative called Vaya Mzansi, will be launched fully during Tourism Month, as the Minister has alluded to.
The campaign showcases products for families, young people, the old, the adventurous and South Africans from most walks of life. It reaffirms that all our travel needs are indeed here through a slogan that says, "It is here."
Through discussions with Parliament, the department revamped its programmes during the 2011-12 financial year to come up with an even more aggressive portfolio, which includes a programme called Domestic Tourism. This programme intends to develop and nurture the potential of South Africans in the domestic market - be it travellers looking for a destination to suit their needs, enthusiastic South Africans with great plans to expand the offering we have in the country, or patriotic businesses in the country looking forward to joining the struggle in the fight against the unemployment rate. This programme is envisaged to do this and, in the course of its success, bring back our national pride through a culture of knowing your country through travel.
Ndzi tsundzuka nkarhi lowu ndza ha ri ntsongo, ha ha famba maendzodyondzo. Hi famba maendzo yo ya eka tindhawu to fana na Gold Reef City, Pretoria Zoo, Table Mountain na Botanical Gardens. A swi tsakisa ngopfu hi nkarhi wa kona.
Hi kombela leswaku ku vulavuriwa na lava va mabindzu ya swifambo hi mayelana na mali yo hakela ku teka maendzo lama. Mali ya kona yi va ehenhla ngopfu. Leswi swi endla leswaku vana lava pfumalaka va nga swi koti ku famba tindhawu to fana na va Golf Reef City. Ku fanele ku komberiwa leswaku vana va swikolo va hunguteriwa tihakelo leswaku na swisiwana na swona swi ta kota ku tiva tindhawu ta Afrika-Dzonga; ku landza marito ya leswaku "Know your South Africa." (Translation of Xitsonga paragraphs follows.)
[I remember the days when I was young, when we used to go on school tours. We used to visit tourist attractions such as Gold Reef City, Pretoria Zoo, Table Mountain and botanical gardens. At the time it was very exciting.
We plead that there be negotiations with those who are in the travel industry with regard to the money paid for these kinds of tours. The money that is paid is too little. This makes children from poor families unable to go to places such as Gold Reef City. We should request discounted prices for school children to enable poor children to know the tourist attractions of South Africa, following the motto that says, "Know your South Africa".]
At the same time, this challenge is "a chicken and egg" issue - a demand commands a supply. However, we should be aware that without demand, competitive pricing will remain a dream and without competitive pricing, demand will remain a dream. This is why this agenda should be a collective effort, where industry and clients meet halfway. It is along those lines that I challenge all present here to join me on this new journey of knowing my country.
As I create a trail of a true South African who enjoys the biltong and admires the diamonds in the Northern Cape; as I remember the struggle icons in Soweto and confer with human existence in Maropeng; as I cherish the soil of Mvezo for bestowing a true, selfless leader upon us; and as I marvel at the flora and fauna of uKhahlamba, I would not have done justice if I don't touch base with the Big Five and indulge in some mopani worms. The list is endless. So, let us explore, because it is all here.
Holobye, vanhu va ka hina va na vuswikoti ngopfu. Va swi kota ku tiendlela vupfhumba emakaya ya vona. Loko u ya eMadibeng, eka Modjadji, ku na ndhawu yin'wana leyi vitaniwaka Disanteng. Ndhawu leyi yi le hansi ka buloho laha vanhu va tsakaka kona loko ku fika mikarhi ya maholideyi yo ku fana na Novinjara na Siku ra Ndzivalelano.
EMoretele Local Municipality na kona ku na buloho leri vitaniwaka Moretele. Eka ndhawu leyi, vanhu va tiendlela mabindzu ya vona kona. Na kona laha hi mikarhi ya maholideyi ka tala swinene. Vanhu va suka eJoni na Polokwane ku ta xava eka ndhawu leyi.
Leswi hi swin'wana swa swilo leswi hi lavaka leswaku mi swi langutisa ngopfu leswaku swi ta kota ku hlohlotela vanhu ku tiva Afrika-Dzonga ya vona. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraphs follows.)
[Minister, our people are very creative. They are able to create tourist attractions in their own backyards. If you go to Madibeng in Modjadji, there is a place called Disanteng. This place is under the bridge, where people entertain themselves during the festive season such as New Year and the Day of Reconciliation.
In Moretele Local Municipality there is also a bridge called Moretele. At this place people run their own enterprises. This place is very full during holidays. People travel from Johannesburg and Polokwane to buy from this area.
These are some of the things that we request that you should seriously look at so that we can encourage people to know their South Africa.]
With those words, the ANC supports Budget Vote No 35. Thank you. [Applause.]